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Trauma Responses

What is Trauma?

Trauma happens when you go through a very stressful, frightening or distressing period of time, a single event or a group of events. The events don’t always have to happen to you, the event could be the sudden & unexpected death, or you may have witnessed a car accident. Trauma can also happen collectively in a community or globally, we have recently seen this with the pandemic.

Trauma can include events where you feel:

· Frightened

· Under threat

· Humiliated

· Rejected

· Abandoned

· Invalidated

· Unsafe

· Unsupported

· Trapped

· Ashamed

· Powerless.

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Our Responses to Trauma

Friend

Calling for a ‘friend’ or bystander for help by shouting or screaming, an example maybe you have witnessed a stranger fall in the street & you need help to help them. Another example of this response is when someone makes friends with someone who is dangerous. This can be done by negotiating with a hostage taker for example.

*PLEASE note that this is not giving your attacker consent, it is an instinctive survival mechanism.

Freeze

Going tense, still & silent. This is a frequent reaction to rape & sexual violence. I need to remind you that Freezing is not giving consent. I fact it is an instinctive survival response. You can see it in animals, they freeze to avoid fights & or predators.

Fight

Physically fighting, pushing, struggling, & fighting verbally e.g., saying ‘no’.

Flight

Putting distance between you & the danger, including running, hiding, or backing away.

Flop

Your muscles become loose & your body goes floppy. This is an automatic response that can reduce the physical pain of what’s happening in the moment. Your mind can also shut down to protect itself.